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Headington Hill & Road: “Headington Hill: A New Song”


“Headington Hill: A New Song” was written by Samuel Harding in about 1780, when the raised footpath to the summit of the hill was a very popular walk with Oxford academics. The best known of these dons, Joe Pullen, is mentioned in the song; and his famous elm tree is the subject of the second and third verses.

“Yonder mill” in the seventh verse is presumably the windmill in Windmill Road, although the site is no longer a flowery vale….


Ye peaceful Swains that turn the soil
Bright Nymphs assist my quill,
To write or sing, the pleasant spot
Of Headington’s fair Hill.

Sweet rising freedom here doth flow,
Transporting thoughts do fill
The soul with fond domestick joys,
On Headington’s fair Hill.

Joseph divine, great Pullen’s plant,
Through different ages still
Doth stand a rural Monument
On Headington’s fair Hill.

Sweet rising freedom &c.

In spring it smiles and plenty wears,
Famed spot for learned skill:
How rich the morn when Phebius [sic] shines
On Headington’s fair Hill.

Sweet rising freedom &c.

Let other boast aspiring piles
Rewards of honour, still
Must fall beneath the lasting name
Of Headington’s fair Hill.

Sweet rising freedom &c.

You Grove where Zephyrs gently wave
And running streamlets thrill
Do crown the scene with pleasing views,
On Headington’s fair Hill.

Sweet rising freedom &c.

Ye Goddesses! that tread the plains,
And royal love fulfil
O let my song invite your charms
To Headington’s fair Hill.

Sweet rising freedom &c.

Oh happy Nymphs and Swains that live,
Retired at yonder mill,
Your flowery vales yield rich perfumes,
To Headington’s fair Hill.

Sweet rising freedom &c.

Bright sacred rays of glory shines
Illuminate the will,
While sweet conversing on the views,
From Headington’s fair Hill.

Sweet rising freedom &c.

Parnasses top that lofty mount,
Where music sounded shrill,
Sublimer joys never could yield
Than Headington’s fair Hill.

Sweet rising freedom &c.

Ye warbling choirs in every bush
Crown my inferior quill,
In loudest strains to sing the praise,
Of Headington’s fair Hill.

Sweet rising freedom &c.

Great founding Bells from lofty Towers,
Spread all your notes with skill;
Proclaim each Lover blest that walks,
On Headington’s fair Hill.

Sweet rising freedom &c.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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